Customized Higher Education: The Next Iteration of Learning Management Systems

Article excerpt

ON OUR WAY TO SPRING TRAINING, we wondered about the difference between batting practice and college customizers. The answer: In baseball, when you swing and miss, the batting coach jumps all over your case to motivate you to make midcourse adjustments before the next pitch. Unhappily, in traditional higher learning, students often enroll in September and wait until January to discover their learning deficiencies. Fortunately, all that is beginning to change with the introduction of contemporary learning management systems (LMS). Indeed, outcomes and corrective action--giving instructors and students an early opportunity for intervention, remediation and, importantly, increased course completion rates--are only a touch away.

Countless institutions promise prospective students customized curriculum, personalized academic support, and individualized-remedial and tutorial services. Many of us in academe have heard it all before from the usual distance learning providers--who profess to accommodate a wide variety of individual learning styles.

What's new on the scene? In a recent interview with an executive at the Norwegian-based distance learning company called "it's learning," we learned about a new breed of LMS that partners with faculty, students, and staff by providing a total, blended online solution. …